Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Last summer a friend and I went to an art expo in the Chicago area and met artist Karen Vernon ( We were both surprised and impressed by how approachable and kind she was.

If you are not familiar with her, she does work on the hard board sold by Ampersand – used to be called claybord but is now “Aquabord”. She took a lot of time with us to explain how she used the boards, gave us her business card and said to give her a call if we had any questions!

It took us a while to get around to using the boards we purchased, but finally we have. We set up our own “painting challenge” – we would use the same photo but interpret it any way we wanted. I chose to use the photo pretty much “as is” (gee, that should come as no surprise to you!) while she chose to crop the photo top and bottom and create a horizontal painting. She also decided to tape the painting (this means using masking tape as the resist, rather than miskit) while I chose to use a bit of miskit at the beginning.

Here is mine. (The photo is from my daughter’s trip to Italy a few years ago, and I’m not sure where this was taken – and when I asked her the other day she didn’t know either – so I’m guessing Venice???)

Venetian Alley, 16x20, watercolor on Claybord

I miskited a few areas on the tops of the roof, the sunlight on the ground in the foreground and around the bush area and the figure. Then I got out some sedimentary colors and began slopping on paint, very water-y. I wanted the warmer colors in the center and focal area and then the cooler colors to surround that.

I should probably tell you the colors I used – (all colors are Daniel Smith) – Raw Sienna, French Ultramarine, Cerulean, Azurite, Sodalite, Prussian, Quin. Coral, Venetian Red, Lunar Red Rock, Quin. Sienna, Tiger’s Eye, Tiger’s Eye Burnt, Undersea Green.

I like to glaze, and had read that was possible to do on the board, but at first I found it to be hard not to pull up the underlying color, even using a very soft brush. (One of the features of the board is that, like Yupo, it’s possible to wipe back to the white of the board, which means that the paint is very lift-able). Seems like the following day it was OK – I’m thinking that even though it felt dry at first, it takes that surface longer to get totally dry. (Things to learn about!)

I’m happy with it. You can’t tell in the photo, but up close there is a lot of texture on the left building and cobbles, just due to the nature of the paints. I did not use anything else to create texture.

Here is my friend’s painting – she had some trouble with the paint creeping under the tape, but that is pretty normal for the taping technique.

Let me know what you think!


Gaylynn said...

Looks good! How much fun you must have had. Did you like the board enough to use it some more?

RHCarpenter said...

They both look good but I have no patience with the taping technique - grrrrr! Yes, did you like the clayboard enough to use it again?

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Interesting to here about this claybord that works like YUPO, which I have recently started to use. Like them both - amazing how portrait and landscape versions of the same subject feel so different. You both seemed to have used a very similar palette.

debwardart said...

Liked the surface - will use it again. I'll let you know how it looks after it's been varnished.
Joan - I hate Yupo but liked this. Difference is the paint does not slide around on this surface. You can wipe it back to almost white, but you can layer (glaze) too.
It's manufactured by Ampersand - I'm sure you can get it in the UK, or you could order it from the US!

Deb L├ęger said...

I'm going to have to try this board! I just love these two paintings - beautiful!!!